The discovery of a rarer form of volcanic activity on the moon’s surface is making scientists reconsider the moon’s volcanic history.
Though scientists have been aware of volcanoes on the moon’s Earth-visible surface for quite some time, it was not until this year that high-resolution images of the far side of the moon were available. These images, taken by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter confirmed conjectures about another lunar area of volcanic activity.
In 1959, the Soviet Union’s Luna 3 spacecraft reached the far side of the moon and brought back images of a plain between two impact craters later found to contain thorium and other silicate rocks. This led to the hypothesis that there was another region of silicic volcanism isolated from the rest of the moon’s basaltic and silicic volcanic activity.
With high-resolution photographic proof of this activity, scientists are now questioning basic assumptions about the moon’s evolution and composition.
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